Prosecutor’s Misdeeds Mean Trio Won’t Be Retried for Murder

A judge ruled the city couldn't retry three men who were once convicted of torture and murder. But only one could be getting out of prison.

A judge ruled yesterday that three men once convicted of torturing and murdering another man won’t be retried for the crime. Common Pleas Judge Benjamin Lerner ruled the case couldn’t be retried due to prosecutorial misconduct during the original 2006 crime.

A jury convicted Aquil Bond, Jawayne Brown and Richard Brown of second-degree murder in 2006 and sentenced them to life without parole. Witnesses testified the three men duct-taped 25-year-old Rohan Haughton, tortured him with a hot kitchen knife and shot him in the head. All four men were involved in the drug trade.

But the state’s highest court threw out the conviction in 2012, saying Assistant District Attorney Edward Cameron committed multiple instances of prosecutorial misconduct at trial. During closing arguments, Cameron said a prosecution witness had helped solve seven murders. Additionally, he had the chief of the homicide Unit, Ed McCann, testify to corroborate witness testimony.

Lerner ruled yesterday the state’s constitution doesn’t allow a retrial when a verdict is thrown out due to prosecutorial misconduct.

The district attorney’s office plans to appeal. “These defendants are charged with a brutal murder, and two of them are already in prison for life for other murders,” a statement released by Seth Williams’ office read. “This office will be appealing the decision made by Judge Lerner today and we look forward to retrying all three in the future.”

Jawayne Brown is the only one that will be getting out of prison if the state’s appeal fails, however. The Daily News reports Richard Brown is serving life for another unrelated murder, while Bond is serving life for murder and is on death row for another murder conviction.

[Daily News]